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Team of Meno-Sand Clears Final Hurdle

January 28, 1998|MARTIN BECK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Before U.S. pairs figure skaters Jenni Meno and Todd Sand could plan to leave for Nagano for the Winter Olympics, they had to pass a final test in Costa Mesa, and Tuesday they aced the exam.

At issue was the soundness of Meno's right ankle, injured in practice Jan. 9 at the U.S. championships in Philadelphia. The injury, a deep bruise, forced Meno and Sand to pull out of the national competition, but they were voted onto the Olympic team because of their strong international performances.

Meno and Sand performed Tuesday, at the Ice Chalet, their regular practice rink, for a three-man committee from the International Committee of the U.S. Figure Skating Assn.

Meno solidly landed two high-impact jumps--a double axel and a triple salchow--as the husband-wife pair skated for 35 minutes and ran through their long program. After a short meeting, the committee announced that Meno and Sand were fit to be U.S. Olympians.

"We're very excited about going to the Olympics," Meno said. "And I think by the time we get there, we should be pretty close to 100%."

Meno and Sand, who live in Aliso Viejo, are three-time U.S. champions and two-time world bronze medalists. This will be their second trip to the Olympics as a pair. They finished fifth in Lillehammer in 1994, after having competed with other partners in the 1992 Games at Albertville, France.

Their coach, John Nicks, said twice-daily therapy sessions and a low-impact training schedule helped Meno heal quickly.

"We took it very slowly," Nicks said. "It's only been the last two days that I would say that Jenni has been executing all these elements.

"I expect them to improve and be 100% in Nagano, surely."

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